Whither justice and freedom for Palestine?

Whither justice and freedom for Palestine?

According to international law, Palestine should now be a full-fledged state in the community of nations having fulfilled all required attributes to lay claims to be one. Obstructing that is an obdurate and foolhardy Israel which prefers to make-believe that this is not reality. From the time of the Partition plan in 1947 created by the United Nations, Israel has replicated one oppressive action after another on the Palestinians with both tacit and explicit support from western nations. The Partition itself plan was an unmerited solution to the vicious holocaust days that the Jews endured from 1933-1945. Jews underwent over a decade of one of the most brutal eras in world history which saw Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany and its collaborators killed about six million Jews. It remains a blot on human history.

On the 27th January, the world commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day. 27 January coincidentally marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

This was a day declared as a day for people the world over to pause to bear in mind the millions of people who have been murdered or whose lives have been altered dramatically during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, Sri Lanka, and many similar conflicts. More than a time for vacant commemoration, the real implications for a commemoration such as the holocausts, is to use the lessons of their experience to inform rationale and dialogical political behaviour. The question that arises is: Do the times we live in not offer us solutions outside of the peace of the graveyards?

It is clear that the Jews, in general, have not learned the lessons of the holocaust. Since 1948, Israel has unleashed a reign of terror against the Palestinians. Palestinians have been mourning the loss of their homeland since 1948. Nakba Day, an annual day of commemoration inaugurated by the Palestinian Authority in 1998 is a relatively new addition to the international calendar.

“Nakba”, the Arabic word for disaster is the word that recalls the displacement of hundreds of thousands of persons and the establishment of a Jewish state following the Israeli War of Independence. With Israel’s military machine on high speed and permanent state of continuum, the Palestinian Nakba seems never ending.


The Palestinians ask the world: “Whither justice”? Why is the oppression and humiliation of one people worthy of commemoration; while the very same people who were once dehumanized now turn around to wreak havoc on the people whose lands they now occupy? Why must Palestinians undergo the humiliation of dispossession and dehumanization every day?

Israel invades and acquires Palestinian areas as and when it pleases with impunity. The best that the international community does is to pass yet another resolution and evades invoking mechanisms that make those resolutions un-implementable and permits Israel to stay accountable. This persistent pattern of condemnations and resolutions from the United Nations is akin to the man who cried “wolf” only to attract attention.  But even at the end of that folk tale, the wolf does appear at the end, and there is retribution.
Threats and denunciation must end. The last remaining apartheid-colonialist structure must, in this era of global democracy, give way to freedom rooted in justice for the Palestinians. Freedom cannot await an opportune season or an auspicious moment especially for those who suffer the pangs of injustice. For those who join Palestinians in their quest for justice, these words from Margaret Mead, an American anthropologist, arouse hope and courage: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Ranjan Solomon

Knesset set to pass yet another unjust bill

The Knesset is set to pass into law a controversial bill that would legalize some 4,000 housing units in the West Bank built on privately-owned Palestinian land.  A special Knesset committee created to hammer out the legislation will vote on its final formulation on Monday clearing the bill for its final votes in the plenum later in the afternoon. The legislation stipulates that settlement construction in the West Bank that was carried out in good faith, without the knowledge that the land was privately owned, would be recognized by the government provided the settlers could show some kind of state support in establishing themselves at the site — which in some cases could be as minimal as having access to public infrastructure.

The votes come ahead of the court-ordered demolition of the Amona outpost and nine buildings in the nearby West Bank settlement of Ofra by February 8. The legislation was not expected to circumvent the final court order on Amona but could avert the demolitions of other structures for which a final ruling has not yet been handed down.

Read more on the times of Israel.com

PA wants ICC to investigate Israeli settlements

Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said that the Palestinian Authority will ask the International Criminal Court to open a full investigation into the legality of the Israeli settlements. Al-Maliki told Voice of Palestine that the Palestinian leadership has planned a range of actions in order to halt settlement activity in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem. “Next week we will go to the International Criminal Court to demand a full investigation of the Israeli settlements,” he explained. “We will also sign a range of international treaties and join institutions to provide protection for our people and our land. We will use all available means.”

See Middle East Monitor to read more on this

One in two Palestinians to need humanitarian assistance in 2017

“The humanitarian context of [the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT)] is unique amongst today’s humanitarian crises and remains directly tied to the impact of occupation, now in its 50th year,” begins a report on the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Based on an overview of the humanitarian crisis facing Palestine, OCHA concludes that about one in two Palestinians will require humanitarian assistance in 2017. It also identifies all 4.8 million Palestinians in the OPT as “affected by protection threats.” The OPT includes East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

The UN Humanitarian Organization for the Palestinian Territories reports

Palestinian Authority rejects Netanyahu’s conditions to resume peace talks

The Palestinian Authority strongly rejected a set of conditions presented by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the resumption of peace talks, including the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State and the continuous security control over areas located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. The Palestinian Authority described the conditions as “insignificant and unworthy of a response”.  “These are onerous conditions; [Netanyahu] will not find a single Palestinian, who will be ready to deal with them.”Netanyahu said that recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and its right to seal security control over the West Bank were two conditions that he would never abandon.

The English version of Aawsat has details of this news

Rafah crossing opens – Gaza situation likely to improve

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip reopened Saturday as Cairo and the Islamist organization hailed an improvement in long-tense ties.


Hamas called the rare visit by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to Cairo “successful.” Hebrew-language media quoted Egyptian officials as saying that the visit represents a desire by both sides to rebuild trust after tension since the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood group, Hamas’s mother movement.
The talks will have “positive results” on the situation in Gaza. For most of the past decade, Egypt has been a quiet partner with Israel in the blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza, stifling the economy and largely blocking its 2 million people from moving in and out of the territory.
Read more on the times of Israel

Two months of collective punishment after fire in nearby settlement

In November 2016, a fire broke out near the Halamish settlement, apparently due to arson. Although the Palestinian residents of nearby Deir Nizam were accused of nothing, the military put the village under unofficial closure for 3 days and has restricted movement to and from it ever since. Soldiers patrol the village almost daily, resulting in clashes with youngsters. The disruption of daily life and violation of the residents’ rights for two months now constitute wrongful collective punishment.

Read more on the  btselem website 

Urgent call to free longest-serving Palestinian prisoner Nael Barghouthi

Palestinian prisoner Nael Barghouthi, 59 has been imprisoned for 36 years in Israeli jails, and he is the longest-held Palestinian political prisoner. Today, on the basis of so-called “secret evidence,” he is threatened with the re-imposition of life imprisonment with no charges and no legitimate trial.

Along with over 1,000 fellow prisoners, he was released in 2011 as part of the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange. While he married after his release and returned to his life, in 2014, he was swept up with other former prisoners in a series of arrests. Under Israeli military order 1651 – violating the release agreement – re-arrested prisoners can have their former sentences re-imposed upon them by a military committee on the basis of secret evidence. This secret evidence is denied to both the prisoner and their lawyer.

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More details are on the Addameer website

Precarious childhood: Arrests of Jerusalemite children
This film addresses the process of arrest, interrogation, and the policy of house arrest and their effects on children. It provides accounts of children who were arrested in order to highlight a larger policy of persecution and targeting of Palestinian children in Jerusalem.